|Zach has scribbled "tats" all over his arm and they all smell Sweet..NOT.|
I eat lunch at home. Every single day. Leftovers, sandwiches, or soup. By Friday, I am sick of leftovers, and whatever else I have scrounged up every day at home. And usually, my choice, because we have so many here in Quincy, is a hot dog from Hardees. I know it must seem very strange, that of EVERYTHING you think I could pick, it's a hot dog from Hardees. So, let me tell you our ENTIRE food choices here in Quincy. Pizza Hut, Hardees, Burger King, McDonalds, Dominos, KFC, The West End Grille, Lindy's Chicken, AJ's Chicken, and a couple of sandwich shops. So, it's a hot dog I choose.
So today, I place my order like I always do. This is how it goes. On the order board it says, Chili Dog. Now, if I say, I'd like a hot dog with ketchup only, they say, do you mean a chili dog plain with ketchup only? I say, yes. So the next week, thinking I know the secret code now, I start off by saying, I'd like a chili dog plain with ketchup only. They say, so you want a hot dog with only ketchup? And I sigh, and say yes. So, no matter what I say, I never say it right.
Today was no different. Except, they got my order wrong. I got home, and I had chili on my hot dog. Which I do NOT eat. Not even scrapping it off, am I going to eat it. So, I called Hardees. Explained what happened. Said I would be back by in a few minutes. To get my hot dogs the way I wanted them. NAKED with ketchup only. A naked weenie, as my friend Debbie Houston White says, with ketchup only. I went BACK through the drive thru window, they were very nice. And so was I. I did not fuss or get crazy. Though I felt like it. I simply smiled. And said thank you. My good deed for the day.
At 1:35, my son Zach calls me from school. From his cell phone. Which is not allowed. In school. He starts the conversation by saying "Hey Mama, what are you doing?" Which means. He wants something. And he does. Want. Something. Unbeknown to me, there is a maniacal man roaming the streets of Quincy and Mt. Pleasant. The whole town had been looking for this man for hours.The police had been running dogs, helicopters had been low flying. The man hunt of the month was on, and I had no idea.
Zach's entire school had been in lock down mode since 9am. He gets out of school at 2:30pm. The call at 1:35pm is because now....he is bored. They have played cards, drawn tats on each others bodies, and cut the fool all day. But now, he is ready to come home. Less than an hour before they will get out of school. He wants me to leave work. And come pick him up. Thirty minutes after I had got back to work from taking my hour long lunch. My answer was an unequivocal NO. Finish your hand of poker, then come on home at your normal time. Call me when you get there.
At 2:50pm, Zach calls again. From his cell phone. And he is not at home. He is with his bud Mike and they are taking another buddy, Robert home. In Havana. Because Robert lives in Havana. He will be home by 3:15. I say alright again, and remind him to call me when he gets home.
At 3:25pm, Zach calls again. Mike and Zach are now at Matt's house. Which is between Havana and home. He wanted to show Mike where Matt lives. Matt is one of Zach's best friends and business partner. He wants me to know where he is, because he was not home by the time we discussed. Again, I know. He wants something. Because this is the child who NEVER thinks it's necessary to check in or call, or answer his cell when I call. Because I already know where he is and what he's doing. And his cell..IS ALWAYS DEAD. Or in his gym bag.
And he does want something. Else. He wants to know, can they all go buy steaks and baked potatoes and grill out. I tell him I am not comfortable with them and fire, without me being at home. He tells me, reminds me, he is almost 16 years old and he and Matt have grilled out before. When they dog sat for his brother. I knew about the dog sitting part. The grilling out part, with fire, not so much. I am thinking, while he is talking. Ninety miles an hour, he is talking. Trying to convince me of his adult demeanor. He hasn't completely, but I decide to take a chance. I decide to try and not think about him horsing around the fire, poking it with sticks, and setting my trees, lawn, or worse, himself on fire.
At 5pm, I leave work and go to the grocery store. With Mims. At 6:15 I am pulling into the driveway. Truck full of groceries and a drive way full of boys. Boys playing basketball. And with my windows up, I can hear them whooping and hollering as they shoot wild shots into the hoop. I can see the smoke from the grill rolling...and no one is poking sticks or playing with fire. My chance taking...worked out. My day begins to feel better.
I park under the carport. As I am opening my door, Zach is standing in front of me with his cell phone. It's a call for me. I say hello, and it's Katy Jo. Breathlessly telling me, she has been accepted into the UNIVERSITY OF FREAKIN' FLORIDA!!!!! Where she has been wanting to go to college, all of her life!! Last week she was announced as Valedictorian of her senior class...today...her letter of acceptance to Florida arrives. How good can it get I ask you!!! My day feels even better. I am so proud for her, of her. She is going to be everything she ever wanted to be. Because she can. She is..just...that..good.
It's 7pm, and the boys are settled at the bar, eating their steaks and potatoes. And talking smack. About each other. About school. About everything and nothing. Zach is cracking on everything he can think of, making the others struggle not to choke from laughing. And I sit here in my recliner and listen. Soaking in the laughter, the smack swapping, and the boys. The boys who are turning into men. Men who grill their own food and shoot hoops with grown men voices. When did their voices become so deep? These are my thoughts. As I listen, to how their day was ....in the life of......them. And my evening is suddenly, one of the best ever. My messed up "naked weenie" from lunch, seems like ages ago now, as it should.